Atari selling Cryptic Studios to Perfect World

by: Dan -
More On: Neverwinter

A couple years ago, selling studios was very en vogue, with a sale seemingly popping up every other week. After a somewhat quiet period on that front, we learned yesterday that Cryptic Studios will be sold by Atari to Perfect World. Cryptic has primarily developed MMOs such as Champions Online, Star Trek Online, City of Heroes and City of Villains. They are currently working on the latest PC-only Dungeons and Dragons game called Neverwinter and another unnamed project.

It is an interesting match with Perfect World, who has their own lengthy list of MMORPGs. My only concern is that it appears that some of these games are starting to lose interest with fans, including the granddaddy of them all in WoW. For Atari this makes some sense, as MMORPGs make up a very small portion of their overall game library and they have been focusing on emerging gaming platforms such as iOS, and their own and third-party franchises.

BEIJING, May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Perfect World Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ: PWRD) ("Perfect World"), a leading online game developer and operator based in China, and Atari, S.A. (NYSE Euronext Paris: ATA) ("Atari"), today announced that they have entered into an agreement whereby Perfect World would acquire 100% equity interest in Cryptic Studios, Inc. ("Cryptic Studios"), a California-based online game developer from Atari, the sole shareholder of Cryptic Studios. Under the stock purchase agreement, Perfect World will pay an aggregate purchase price of approximately EUR35.0 million in cash, subject to working capital and other adjustments as provided in the agreement. The consummation of the transactions contemplated in the agreement is subject to satisfaction of closing conditions.

"We are very pleased to sign the agreement to acquire Cryptic Studios," commented Mr. Michael Chi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Perfect World. "This strategic acquisition will add attractive game titles to our portfolio, which will help us further penetrate into the U.S. and global online game markets. More importantly, Cryptic Studios' highly reputable development team and its technology platform will further strengthen our well-established R&D capabilities. We deem this as another noteworthy achievement of our global expansion efforts."

"With the acquisition by Perfect World, Cryptic has found a strong platform for continued expansion into free to play business model and growth in the global marketplace," said Jim Wilson, CEO of Atari. "The divestiture of Cryptic is in line with Atari's continued focus on key owned and third-party strategic franchises and expansion into emerging game platforms."

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